Three years ago, Gene Green wanted to give Peabody-Burns High School students an exercise alternative to traditional sports — not every student is athlete — and Adventure Club was born.
With the days getting longer and warmer, 16 PBHS students are looking forward to hitting mountain bike trails at the beginning of March. Three Adventure Club favorites are Miller’s Meadow south of Andover, a trail near Harvey County Lake East, and a trail near Bethel College in Newton.
“It doesn’t matter what ability you have,” Green said. “Anybody can bike.”
Weather permitting, the group likes to ride as often as possible usually on Sunday afternoons and school in-service days. They usually meet to discuss riding, fundraising, and other activities during school hours, Green said.
Green said Adventure Club is the only high school mountain biking club in the state of Kansas. He was unsure how the students would respond to the idea. The reaction has been undoubtedly favorable. Adventure Club has doubled in size since the 2010-11 school year. As he had predicted, the club has drawn all types of PBHS students including a few athletes, like basketball players McKenzie Ensminger and Tommy Morris, who said biking has helped with endurance for other sports.
What has been Green’s greatest joy in the club is watching the students interact in a different environment.
“The older ones, that were originals, have taken the younger ones under their wings,” Green said. “They’ve become better overall people.”
Three of those original students Karly Wentworth, Morris, and Ensminger all said their favorite part was the trip the group took to Colorado this past summer. Adventure Club biked for three days on mountain trails, whitewater rafted one day, and rock climbed for another. All three students said they are looking forward to riding the zip line and playing paint ball this year with a trip planned to the Durango area.
Other than the use of USD 398 GMC Suburbans, Adventure Club raises all of its own funds. The club has received grants from the Kansas Health Foundation and recently a grant from the Peabody Community Foundation of $700 for bikes.
The club owns eight bikes, which it purchased and maintains through Byron Fick, who gives the group a discount at his shop Heartland Bicycles in Wichita. Green hopes to have 15 bikes in time for the next summer trip to Colorado. For other biking excursions, Green said he will borrow or rent bikes for the other students to use.
“For bikes now, I will beg, borrow, or steal,” Green said.
Adventure Club is going to have two of its main fundraisers this spring. In the first week of March, the club will have bierocks for sale from the Bread Basket in Newton. The club also has a spring fling promotion in April.